Skip to main content
Animal Abuse as a Warning Sign of School Massacres a Critique and Refinement
Homicide Studies
  • Arnold Arluke
  • Eric Madfis, University of Washington Tacoma
Publication Date
Document Type
Although animal cruelty is often described as a warning sign of future human violence, particularly in the prediction of multiple homicides, prior studies reveal mixed support for this notion and lack conceptual clarity in the measurement of such cruelty. This study investigates the quantity and quality of cruelty present in a sample of 23 perpetrators of school massacres from 1988 to 2012. Findings indicate that 43% of the perpetrators commit animal cruelty before schoolyard massacres and that the cruelty is usually directed against anthropomorphized species (dogs and cats) in an up-close manner. The implications of these findings for reducing false positive cases of cruelty are discussed.
pre-print, post-print
Citation Information
Arnold Arluke and Eric Madfis. "Animal Abuse as a Warning Sign of School Massacres a Critique and Refinement" Homicide Studies Vol. 18 Iss. 1 (2014) p. 7 - 22
Available at: